Summer lasts a good four months from mid-October to mid- February, and is characterized by hot, sunny weather – often with afternoon thunderstorms that clear quickly, leaving a warm, earthy, uniquely African smell in the air. Be prepared for much hotter temperatures than usual, as well as less rain. Climate change is having a profound effect and most of the country is experiencing an ongoing drought. Daily average temperatures during December and January have risen above 100 degrees Fahrenheit or about 38 degrees Celsius.
Clothing for the summer most definitely has to include shorts and short sleeve shirts.
Autumn in South Africa is from mid-February to April. It offers the best weather in some respects. Very little rain falls over the whole country, and it is warm but not too hot, getting colder as the season progresses."
Quotation marks are used in the previous text because that was the official historical description! Conservalion Volunteers has just returned from a visit in February and experienced epic rain and flooding - more evidence of the profound change in global weather patterns.
Don't knock the weather. If it didn't change once in a while, nine out of ten people couldn't start a conversation Kin Hubbard
What weather to expect?
South Africa is famous for its sunshine and the North West Province is particularly sunny and dry.
Spring lasts from August to mid-October. Spring is warm to hot with some afternoon showers. The season usually starts to show during the latter half of August although it is officially springtime from September. Interestingly, the past ten years have consistently delivered heat waves during the last week of September into the first week of October with temperatures reaching the mid to high 40 degree Celsius range! The record was broken in 2015 when temperatures almost touched 50 degrees Celcius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) - not at Ukutula fortunately!
Winter in the North West Province – from May to July – is characterised by dry, sunny, crisp days and cold nights, sometimes with heavy frosts. It's a good idea to bring warm clothes, but also to dress with layers. The early morning can be frosty with temperatures below freezing and and rising to 20 degrees Celsius (70 Fahrenheit) and more at noon. (This is also the best time for viewing wildlife as the bush is not as dense)
Don’t forget sunglasses, sunscreen and a good hat.
Play the videos to experience a real South African storm!
For your enjoyment there are two tennis courts - with a twist! Imagine yourself playing tennis in the African bush while your spectators are wild animals!
Artificial rock wall climbing
Ukutula has recognized the trend in popularity of artificial stone climbing walls and has provided an almost 30 feet (9 meter) high tower for volunteers to enjoy. Climbers have an unobstructed view of the local hills from the top.
Beach Volley Ball
All it takes to have a lot of fun in this instance is two teams of two volunteers per side!
Helga's Kitchen is becoming world renowned for delicious cuisine! (especially desserts!) Helga knows that people who work MUST have a hearty breakfast. Included will be a taste of the typical traditional African barbecue or "Braai" as it is called in South Africa.
Nights around a bush fire
Many cosy evenings are spent around the fire which is fuelled by local bush wood. Great for marshmallows!
The Dining area can be transformed into a great movie theatre with excellent sound and visuals. The owners do their best to provide a variety of titles that suit the tastes of all the volunteers.
There are two swimming pools for cooling down after work.
For purposes of entertainment and correspondence with friends and family back home there is wireless Internet. (available for ZAR200.00 for your entire stay) The signal is strongest close to the Reception offices and most volunteers find the area around the pool has a strong signal.
Many a pleasant evening is had by volunteers as they are served by Jeff. Games are played most nights in the pleasant African temperatures. The pub is next to the swimming pool which is also convenient. Remember to ask Jeff about the traditional African beer featured at the bottom of this page.